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Darwin Correspondence Project

From B. J. Sulivan   19 March 1868

Bournemouth

March 19. 68

My dear Darwin

It was very kind of your son to try to find my boy at Cambridge—but he had left it.1 In a few weeks after he went there he became unwell with pain in the side—and as two Cambridge men have told me many suffered from complaint of the liver from the low damp situation—and as I always doubted his having strength to stand the hard work I decided that he should give it up—as the great uncertainty of his being able to provide for himself by College success after taking his degree, did not seem to warrant the risk of his health.2

At the same time I found I could get a nomination in my old office for him at Board of Trade.3 That is to compete with ten for three vacancies—as mathematics were not allowed & the competition was simply in writing—Précis—arithmetic &c. and he was the youngest—some being several years older who had been up a year before & failed—he did not succeed in getting one of the appointments & will have to try again.

I have been reading your new book with great interest—There is one point connected with the Horses feeding under snow that I think you did not quite understand me in.4 You appear to think it is the wild horses only, but an English Horse, and Mares direct from the Pampas, did just the same & kept in good condition through a winter so severe that cattle died in large numbers, even tame ones. Sheep seem to have the same habit as the Horses & scrape upQQQQ feed as they go though coming from River Plate5 where they could not have seen 〈    〉

With our kind regards to Mrs Darwin and all your circle Believe me very sincerely Yours | B. J. Sulivan

CD annotations

1.1 It was … again. 2.6] crossed pencil
3.1 I have] after opening square bracket, pencil

Footnotes

In a letter of 25 December 1866 (Correspondence vol. 14), Sulivan had written that he hoped his youngest son, Henry Norton Sulivan, would win a scholarship at Cambridge in a year’s time.
In a letter of 25 December 1866 (Correspondence vol. 14), Sulivan had written that he hoped his youngest son, Henry Norton Sulivan, would win a scholarship at Cambridge in a year’s time.
Sulivan had resigned his position as chief naval officer in the Marine Department at the Board of Trade in 1865 because of ill health (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from B. J. Sulivan, 8 May [1865]).
In Variation 1: 53, CD cited Sulivan for information about wild horses on the Falkland Islands scraping away snow to find food. In the second edition, CD changed the wording of the passage (Variation 2d ed., 1: 55).
Sulivan refers to Río de la Plata.

Summary

Writes of his son’s affairs.

Is reading Variation and discusses a point relating to feeding habits of horses.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-6026
From
Bartholomew James Sulivan
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bournemouth
Source of text
DAR 177: 292
Physical description
4pp damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6026,” accessed on 19 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-6026.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16

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